Burrell School District to Appeal $53,000 Siemens Property Tax Cut
The Burrell School District plans to appeal a Westmoreland County assessment decision that lowered Siemens Industry Inc’s property tax assessment. With the lower assessment, the school district stands to lose $53,000 This year.
The tax challenge is in addition to another lawsuit that Burrell, along with the Township of Upper Burrell, is pursuing to prevent a substantial loss of tax revenue from Arconic Inc., Upper Burrell’s largest landowner. Siemens’ main operating site is in the Westmoreland Business and Research Park, and the Arconic Technology Center is next to Route 780.
Arconic appealed its tax assessment to the Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas, seeking a property assessment reduction that would result in the school district losing nearly $500,000 per year.
With the two separate lawsuits, Burrell and Upper Burrell plan to fight the potential loss of tax revenue.
“The District is concerned whenever one of our major commercial property owners files a property tax appeal because there is a risk of substantial revenue loss,” said Jennifer Callahan, Burrell’s commercial administrator.
Siemens is a US subsidiary of Siemens AG, a global company that is a leading supplier of power generation and transmission systems, as well as medical diagnostics.
Calls to Siemens for comment were not immediately returned.
Siemens appealed and obtained a reduced assessment of the property, submitting new property assessments to the Westmoreland County Board of Assessment Appeals last October, said Anthony Giglio, attorney at Andrews & Price in Forest Hills, legal counsel for the school district. by Burrell.
The school district and Upper Burrell plan to appeal this month in the Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas against the reduced tax assessment of two Siemens properties in Upper Burrell:
• Hunt Valley Road. There are nearly 13 acres, which had a market value of $10 million in 2020 which has been reduced to $7.5 million for 2021. Siemens’ tax liability to the school district has increased from $131,000 last year at $98,000 a year, with the district losing $33,000 this year and potentially in subsequent years.
• Prominence Drive. There are approximately 7.4 acres, which had a market value of $4.4 million in 2020 which has been reduced to $2.9 million for 2021. Siemens’ tax bill to the district has risen from $57,600 last year to $38,100 this year, so the district is losing nearly $20,000.
The school district plans to conduct its own assessment as part of its appeal, Giglio said.
Upper Burrell will take a much smaller hit than the District in terms of lost revenue. However, the township will fight with the district on appeal, said Ross Walker, chairman of Upper Burrell Supervisors.
“We don’t know how much the reductions will be, but we’ll have to manage regardless,” he said.